2011 Digital IQ Index Finds Luxury Watch Brands Lagging

L2 Digital IQ Index 2011

L2 bills itself as a think tank for digital innovation, and each year the group releases the Digital IQ Index which ranks the “digital competence” of 35 leading luxury watch and jewelry brands. The newest rankings are out, and to the surprise of few, watch brands do not fare well. Find out who is gifted and who is feeble inside.

L2’s scores are based on brand performance in four areas of digital competence: effectiveness of the brand’s website (35%), digital marketing (25%), social media (25%) and mobile (15%). Within each of these categories, L2 ranks brand efforts in several areas. For example, the “Website” category includes factors such as site technology, social media integration, product display and content, and innovation and interactivity.

When the scores are tallied, the brands fall into one of five groups, based on their overall Digital IQ:

  • 140+  Genius
  • 110-139   Gifted
  • 90-109   Average
  • 70-89   Challenged
  • < 70   Feeble

Among luxury watch brands, Jaeger-LeCoultre finished on top, though its score of 108 means its efforts are only average. Other watch brands making it into the average group (and their Digital IQs) are David Yurman (107), Cartier (106), Omega (103), TAG Heuer (100), Longines (95), Montblanc (92), Bulgari (90), Hublot (90), and IWC (90).

One level down, the “Challenged” group includes Audemars Piguet (89), Raymond Weil (85), Chopard (83), Baume & Mercier (81), Piaget (79), Movado (78), Breitling (77), and Vacheron Constantin (71).

Finishing with a rating of “Feeble” are Bulova (68), Rolex (64), Franck Muller (48), and Panerai (47). Patek Philippe finished in last place overall with a Digital IQ of 36.

With nearly two-thirds of the Watches & Jewelry brands being either Challenged or Feeble, the segment is “one of the biggest luxury laggards online” according to the report. By way of comparison with other luxury categories, more than 40% of the brands in Specialty Retail & Travel garner Genius and Gifted rankings, while in Fashion & Beauty, about one-third of the brands finish in the top two groups.

Commenting on the issues affecting the Watches & Jewelry brands, L2 founder and NYU Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway said:

“Gray market concerns, counterfeit fears, limited pricing transparency, and retailer conflict all present obstacles for organizations in this category to build and sell their brands online. However, with 67 percent of consumers in the EU and half of those in the U.S. indicating that they research luxury goods online before making a purchase, do Watches & Jewelry brands really have a choice?”

There is good news for a few brands. Comparing the 2011 findings with those from 2010, Cartier and IWC improved, moving from Challenged to Average. Headed in the other direction, Hublot dropped from Gifted to Average, Piaget from Average to Challenged, and Rolex from Challenged to Feeble. The digital landscape changes quickly, and these brands are finding that they have to run just to keep up.

Watch brands are making some gains in social media, albeit after a very slow start. In the Facebook Fan race, Bulgari is on top with 333,070, an increase of 208% over last year. TAG Heuer is next with 249,367 fans and growth of 254%. Hubot finishes in the third spot with 240,810 fans, but only 18% growth. IWC showed strong year-over-year growth with its 201,214 fans reflecting an increase of 984%. Cartier and Piaget also saw strong growth this year, with their roughly 182,000 fans apiece representing increases of more than 500% each. Baume & Mercier’s 180,000 fans represent an amazing 4,843% growth. The brand is also the top Tweeter, having generated 14,129 micro-missives this year. That’s almost 40 tweets per day for 365 days.

L2 also generated a list of brands that did not fare so well on Facebook, using a “linear regression” metric calculated by looking at predicted Facebook Fans based on Google monthly global search volume. Underperformers here included Vacheron Constantin, Montblanc and Longines.

Over at YouTube, Cartier holds the top spot for most-viewed video, with Calibre de Cartier, Mechanics of Passion having been watched more than 1.3 million times. Hublot’s Jet Man video drew about 939,000 views, while Breitlings’s Formation Flight with the Breitling Wingwalkers video rounds out the top three with 655,000 views.

The L2 report contains 32 pages of facts, figures, and findings. You can download a free copy in .pdf format (in exchange for some personal information, of course), by clicking here:


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